10 Ways To Be a Terrible Conversationalist – Lessons From The Master

November 22, 2013

“I like people admitting they were complete stupid horses’ asses. I know I’ll perform better if I rub my nose in my mistakes. This is a wonderful trick to learn.” – Charlie Munger

1. Do not make eye contact with strangers.

2. Have a closed body posture, make it super uninviting.

3. Don’t use ice breakers: such as asking their name, where they live, the weather or what they do for a living.

4. As a matter of fact, don’t ask any questions about them at all.

5. When someone initiates conversation, talk about yourself nonstop.

6. Talk about the dream you had, in vivid detail.

7. Definitely do not allow for any silences or breaks in conversation. They might get a word in.

8. Assume if they wanted to say something, they would have interrupted you and chimed in.

9. And interrupt their stories frequently to show that you know as much about the topic as them.

10. Do NOT smile. It ruins your teeth.

2009. Kyoto, Japan
My brother & I went to a bar.

I was feeling self conscious & intimidated – since I don’t like crowded places, especially ones filled with people speaking a foreign language.

The friendly bartender seated us at a table for four, shared with two salarymen type dudes having a drink.

My brother decided we should buy them a round of beer, as an icebreaker & also to be nice for letting us share their table.

Beers come. Surprised looks. Conversation flows. Ice is broken.

The well-dressed of the pair leans over to me and says something, but I can’t understand him.

So he repeats it a couple of times. I was confused.

It sounded like he said “The weather is pretty humid.” But why would he talk about the weather? It made no sense to me.

My brother whispers: “I think he’s using english icebreakers, must have picked it up from a book or something.”

Oooohhhhhhh. Ok wow. I’m slow.

Anyways, the night ended up with a lot of drinks with a lot of friendly strangers.

Shots. Folks yelling “Chicago White Sox!” because a Japanese player was on the team & we told em we’re from there.

One guy started doing the moonwalk.

Another (actual adult) running up to me and asking if I have a big american cock.

Crazy group laughter erupted.

Fun times.

All due to icebreakers & my brother’s courage to use them.

(It’s all captured on video. Maybe one day I’ll get the guts to put them up.)

Only this past month (after 32 years on this planet) did I realize the errors in my conversational ways.

Thanks to Scott Adam’s new book: How to Fail at Almost Everything & Still Win Big.

He mentions that conversation has a structure, taught by Dale Carnegie public speaking courses.

I will have to sum up my courage one of these days & take one of those.

Hey, if it works for Warren Buffett…

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